Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas to You!

Whatever you celebrate this time of year, I hope the season finds you safe, warm, and surrounded by those you love. And preferrably, with a bellyfull of sweet vegan goodies.
Happy Holidays, my lovely readers!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Milk and Cookies

I heard Santa might be going vegan this year. He's gotta stay healthy too! Thankfully, I've got lots of alternative holiday milks and vegan cookies for him to choose from. Should put me right at the top of that 'Nice' list.
Most of you should be familiar with Silk's Soy Nog. It's been around for awhile. I use this in my eggnog frosting for gingerbread whoopie pies with excellent results. I think that the consistency is perfect; it has that thick, creamy, eggy mouthfeel that you look for in an eggnog (or as close as it can come without any actual cream or eggs). I'm not blown away by the flavor though. I find myself always adding cinnamon or nutmeg, or some holiday cheer to help kick it up a notch. Still, I bet if I left a glass of this with a little nip of bourbon to help keep Santa warm, he wouldn't complain.
This year I discovered Rice Dream's Rice Nog. I'm a big fan of rice milks since I'm always looking to reduce my soy intake. The flavor of this nog was perfect: lots of nutmeg with other spices to round out the taste. As expected, since rice milk is notoriously thin compared to other milks, the consistency was nowhere near your typical egg nog. But I kind of liked that. It was light, and allowed me to drink more than I would normally be able to tolerate with eggnog's usual thick consistency. I'll leave this one out for Mr. Claus in case he needs something lighter and refreshing to wash down that Chocolate Candy Cane whoopie pie I plan on leaving for him.
West Soy makes a Chocolate Peppermint soymilk. I don't keep regular chocolate soymilk in the house anymore, because I drink too much of it. West Soy's beverage combines my two favorite things and is equally dangerous. Creamy, chocolatey, and a hint of peppermint flavor makes this an ideal holiday drink. And you can drink it cold, or warm it up for some hot cocoa action! I think I'll leave a big tall glass with some chocolate chip cookies for the man in red this year.
I heard that VitaSoy also makes a Holly Nog, but I was unable to find it in Philadelphia. Silk also introduced Mint Chocolate soymilk this year, but I haven't gotten around to trying it yet. If you've tried either of these drinks, I'd love to hear your thoughts.
Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to whip out my copy of Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar, and bake up a batch of tasty, cruelty-free cookies for Santa to enjoy.

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Eat your veggies!

I gave my oven a vacation last week. After the Punk Rock Flea Market, I thought she could use a little break so she wouldn't burn out on me. That, and I was out of essential ingredients like flour and sugar. Can't do much baking without those.
I did turn her on once though. To make this dish. Marina invited me over to her place for a Better Butter dinner party. She was making a vegan dinner and had invited Kelly from Living on the Vedge as well. Since Marina was making the entree and trying out a bunch of new cookie recipes, she asked me to bring a side dish. And since we all know how scary things can get when I stray from the baked goods, I stuck to a simple recipe that I've officially mastered. Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Leeks, and roasted Brussels Sprouts.
Roasting veggies. It's so easy. Why have I not been doing this all along? It's similar to baking in its process, and the results are always delicious and difficult to mess up. I was made to roast veggies. And after working at the farmer's market this fall, I've got a bunch of new veggies added to my repertoire. Leeks being one of them. I never knew I liked leeks or Brussels sprouts until I roasted them. It's changed my perspective on the whole vegetable kingdom.

I couldn't find any sweet potatoes for the dinner party, and substituted Garnet yams in their place. Since most grocery stores incorrectly label yams as sweet potatoes, it didn't make much of a difference. And everyone at the dinner party seemed to enjoy the dish. Crowd pleaser!
The recipe is so simple I feel silly posting it. But honestly, I need to share this to make sure you're not missing out! The most difficult part of the process is rinsing the leeks. Because of the way leeks grow, the dirt and sand are stuck inside the layers so you need to cut first, then soak/rinse them to make sure you get all the dirt out.

You can increase or decrease the amount of veggies as you need them. This "recipe" is really just a blueprint; I didn't measure anything. Play around with it to see what works for you.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Leeks

3 medium sweet potatoes or yams, diced into cubes
3 medium leeks, sliced, soaked and rinsed
1-2 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
herbs de Provence, or other spice mix, to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray roasting pan or large glass baking dish with cooking spray and set aside. After chopping sweet potatoes and rinsing leeks, place in a large bowl and toss with olive oil just to coat. (Pour in olive oil slowly, don't use too much. You just want to coat the veggies, but not have a pool of oil at the bottom.) Toss with salt, pepper and herbs. I used about a teaspoon of each. Once veggies are coated with oil and spices, pour into pan and bake in oven for about 45 minutes. Check occasionally and toss veggies around. The dish is done when edges of the potatoes and leeks are turning black.

Enjoy as a side dish, as a taco filling, or mixed with soy chorizo for a breakfast hash. Serves about 4-5 people.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Memory loss and Blondies

I've been a terrible blogger this month. I completely forgot to bring my camera to the Punk Rock Flea Market, and therefore have no pictures to show you. However, the day went really well. I sold out of almost everything, met some really great people, and had a fun day with Better Butter and the Fanciful Fox. But the best thing about the market? Throughout the day several people came to my table to buy a snack, tried it, and then came back later to buy some more! There were a lot of other bakers there selling goodies, so this meant a lot to me. Thanks to everyone who came by and bought a treat. I really appreciate it, and hope you enjoyed it!
I also went to a cookie review party at the beginning of this month, and forgot my camera. Thankfully other people had that one covered. To see pics from the party, go here.

I brought some of my famous Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Pecan Blondies. Argue if you will about whether or not bars fall into the cookie category, but I live on the edge and brought them anyway. Barry, my fabulous blogger friend over at Foodrulez who hosted the party, posted the recipe last week. I don't normally give out recipes for things I think will be added to my product line, but I guess Christmas time has me feeling the spirit of giving. To get these into your belly, check out the recipe post on Barry's page here.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Punk Rock Flea Market- Holidays 2010

 Oh my. Don't I ever learn my lesson? It's time for the Punk Rock Flea Market again, and I'll be there slinging the goodies as usual. This time, I'm not gonna let it send me over the edge.

Last year's holiday market fell in the middle of a record breaking blizzard that dropped 135 feet of snow on Philly (FACT). The summer edition early this year was smack in the middle of a nasty, gross, 10-shower-a-day heat wave. For this Saturday there's no snow in the forecast and the temps look like they'll be in the 40's. It should be the perfect day to come out and finish up your holiday shopping. And snack on some tasty treats.
I'm sharing a table with some of my favorite gals, who happen to own some of my favorite businesses: Amanda from The Fanciful Fox and Marina from Better Butter. It's going to be a trifecta of awesome. You'll want to find us. Marina's got that delicious peanut butter, now in adorable variety packs. Amanda will be bringing her amazing soap, and whatever else she can fit in the car. There might be some hand-knit items. There might be some books and clothes and other random bullshit. And what will I have? I'm so glad you asked!
Chocolate Chip cookie sandwiches.
Oatmeal Cream Pies.
Lots of whoopie pies (Pumpkin, Chocolate Mint, Chocolate Peanut Butter and Gingerbread with an eggnog filling).
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Blondies.
Chocolate Chip Cookies. And if you're really lucky, some Pumpkin roll.
Make the flea market a part of your day on Saturday. It's always a treat, and you're sure to check some people off your list!

Punk Rock Flea Market- Holiday Edition
Saturday December 11, 2010
10 AM- 5PM
$3 Admission

at the Punk Rock Flea Market-Dome
461 N 9th St
Philadelphia PA19123

Monday, December 6, 2010

Snack Master of the Universe

I'm a pretty awesome girlfriend. It's true. I love baseball and football. I don't like shopping or most romantic comedies. I'm handy with a drill and don't take very long to get ready, and yet I clean up pretty well, I'm extremely affectionate, and I almost always have a homemade baked good in my kitchen. My boyfriend's birthday just passed, and I took him to the Oyster House for lunch and spent a few hours playing skee-ball and shooting baskets at Dave and Buster's. Best. Girlfriend. Ever. Ken's a lucky guy.
But I'm an even luckier girl. I found a dude that will not only cook for me, but loves to cook. And loves to play around in the kitchen like a mad scientist, in a never-ending attempt to create the most powerful snack the world has ever known. And because I'm eating vegan these days, he's taken on the challenge of creating tasty, healthy and well-rounded snacks without animal products. Swoon.
He created this dish a week or so ago. I wish I could give you the recipe, but I usually don't even understand what kind of magic he uses to make his snacks so tasty. These are the basic ingredients: Organic sweet potatoes, rainbow chard, and vegan sausage from the Renaissance Sausage truck. Maybe some vinegar? Probably some onions. All I know is, it was like heaven in my mouth and I didn't want it to end. If he ever recreates the dish, I'll be sure to pass a recipe along. Till then, we'll all just have to drool at these pictures.
In related news for Philly readers, the sausage truck is starting a winter CSA and selling their sausage by the pound. Their vegan sausage is the best I've EVER had, and though I can't speak for the rest myself, Ken loves their chicken sausage. (Oh, and the boys that run the truck are super nice and really cute. But don't tell my awesome boyfriend I said that...)
There will be pick-ups at 3 different locations, one in the city at Pumpkin Market, and two outside the city. For an official order form you can e-mail them at The deadline for this month's order is tomorrow, Tuesday December 7th. It's the perfect gift for that sausage lover on your list. And let's be honest, we've all got a sausage lover on our list...

Friday, December 3, 2010

Better Butter update: America, get excited!

Remember a few weeks ago I talked about my love affair with a local Philadelphia peanut butter company, Better Butter? Many of you outside Philly asked how you could get your hands on some, and at the time it wasn't possible. 
But now all of your Christmas wishes have come true, because starting this week Better Butter launched a shiny new website equipped with online ordering! Suffer no longer my long-distance friends. You too can have delicious low-calorie and low-fat peanut butter in your bellies! 

And for the holiday season, a variety pack of 4 oz jars is available in all 3 flavors. Obviously a wonderful gift for that nut butter lover in your life. Or if you're that lover, add it to your wishlist. Screw the scarf under the tree, and make sure you ask for some Better Butter!

To order, just head over to the website. All the details are there! Happy NOMing!